The Runaway Duke by Julie Anne Long, Mrs. Julien recommended that I move on to Long's Pennyroyal Green Series. Dutifully following her expert opinion, I picked up I Kissed an Earl (2010)--one of the middle books of the series--I think. I chose this one primarily because it was immediately available on Kindle from my library.
Violet Redmond is beautiful, smart, spoiled, and bored. She is used to attention and getting whatever she wants. She is also very loyal and loving to her family. So when she discovers that her missing brother might actually be rampaging the seas as the notorious pirate Le Chat, she springs into action to find him and protect him.
Violet's plan involves sneaking onto the ship of the man ordered by the king to capture Le Chat--the recently appointed Earl of Ardmay. With naivety and optimism, Violet believes she can find her brother and figure out what's going on before the Earl--thereby saving her brother from a hangman's noose. Although I found this rather unbelievable, it did get Violet and the Earl on the same ship with cross purposes, guaranteeing some strife and betrayal.
I had mixed feelings about this book, so it might be easiest if I split it up into likes and dislikes.
Victoria is somewhat annoying at the beginning of the book, but she was believable considering her background and experiences. This gave her character room to grow and learn, which was fun to read.
I like how the characters slowly get to know each other and begin to like each other.
Although Violet's character is supposed to be very smart, she does some remarkably stupid things. I guess some of her actions can be excused for lack of experience and blinding love for her family. But, more often than not, I was shaking my head at her actions.
I kept waiting for something more romantic. I guess Long just wasn't doing it for me this time. The Earl would ignore Violet for days and then go stalking into her room and undressing in front of her. I sometimes liked them together, but it didn't really grab me. Also, (SPOILER?) the love scene after Victoria goes out on the deck during the storm had me rolling my eyes. I wouldn't believe anyone with an ounce of sense would go wandering up on the deck--although it was romantic when he saved her. But I kept getting distracted by the storm. Of course, the Captain is going to save Violet, but then he brings her down to the cabin and they start making out. What kind of Captain abandons his ship in the middle of such insanely dangerous circumstances? Fortunately, the violent, crazy storm that almost killed Victoria settles down almost immediately after they go below.
Finally, and this was almost the straw that had me tearing this book in half in frustration. The editing was atrocious. Extra words, doubled up words, missing pronouns, mixing "he" and "she," using waste instead of waist, and misplaced commas everywhere. Sometimes there were three egregious mistakes in the same paragraph. It was incredibly disturbing, made reading more difficult, and kept taking me out of the story. After looking back at the other reviews of Long's book, I saw this was not her first book that appeared to have been merely spell-checked rather than read by a real editor. I was ready to give up on Long altogether, but then I saw positive reviews for another Pennyroyal Green book, and I decided to give her one more chance. I am on the wait list for What I Did For a Duke at my library. I saw an excerpt and it looked fun, so I'm hopeful. However, if it's also full of errors, I'll be moving on to more carefully printed, mass-produced paperbacks.